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The Odyssey Book 23 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 1

(Odysseus:) ‘But now I shall go to our estate with its many orchards, to see my noble father who has grieved for me constantly.’ (23.354-355)

Odysseus shows his devotion and duty to his family by immediately leaving to see his father after his emotional reunion with his wife.


Quote 2

(Odysseus:) ‘So I will tell you the way of it, how it seems best to me. First, all go and wash, and put your tunics upon you, and tell the women in the palace to choose out their clothing. Then let the inspired singer take his clear-sounding lyre, and give us the lead for festive dance, so that anyone who is outside, some one of the neighbors, or a person going along the street, who hears us, will think we are having a wedding. Let no rumor go abroad in the town that the suitors have been murdered, until such time as we can make our way out to our estate with its many trees, and once there see what profitable plan the Olympian shows us.’ (23.130-140)

Odysseus wants to trick all the Ithakans into thinking all the noise of the slaughter was the racket from a wedding celebration. How ironic, considering that was the very thing they wanted to avoid earlier.

Quote 3

She spoke, and still more roused in him the passion for weeping. He wept as he held his lovely wife, whose thoughts were virtuous. And as when the land appears welcome to men who are swimming, after Poseidon has smashed their strong-built ship on the open water, pounding it with the weight of wind and the heavy seas, and only a few escape the gray water landward by swimming, with a thick scurf of salt coated upon them, and gladly they set foot on the shore, escaping the evil; so welcome was her husband to her as she looked upon him, and she could not let him go from the embrace of her white arms. (23.231-240)

Call us hopeless romantics, but we love this simile: Odysseus returns to Penelope like a drowning man returns to shore. (It's a lot sweeter if you ignore the fact that he spent seven years hanging out with a goddess.)

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